This Thanksgiving week, flagrant human rights violations have been occurring on the front lines of the ongoing struggle to protect the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Native American reservation. The mainstream media has done very little to expose what is really happening in North Dakota as activists are being shot at with rubber bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas canisters.
At least 300 injuries were identified by physicians, nurses and medics associated with The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council within the span of 10 hours; at least 26 severely injured victims were evacuated via ambulance to 3 different hospitals.
Demonstrators were continuously sprayed with high-pressure water cannons for the first 7 hours in subfreezing temperatures as low as 22 degrees (F) causing hypothermia in the majority of those treated. These water cannons were so powerful they even managed rip skin from flesh, exposing bone.
Chemical weapons such as tear gas and pepper spray were extensively used against protesters, triggering severe reactions in many and requiring nearly all patients treated to undergo a decontamination process. Projectiles such as rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and concussion grenades caused numerous cases of blunt force trauma – causing multiple head wounds, lacerations, eye trauma, internal bleeding and severe orthopedic injuries.
In one severe case, a woman by the name of Sophia Wilansky had her arm torn apart by a concussion grenade projectile. Graphic images of the injury have surfaced, you can view them here – but be warned – they are not for the faint of heart. Doctors are saying that they may very well have to amputate. Sophia’s father, Wayne Wilansky, stated that, “The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality,” after traveling to Minneapolis where his daughter had undergone eight hours of surgery on Monday. He went on to explain how the arteries median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm had been quote, “blown away,” by the blunt force trauma of the concussion grenade shot by police.
Other examples include a young man who was vomiting blood after being shot by a rubber bullet, causing him internal bleeding, an elder losing consciousness being revived on scene, a woman with a severe eye injury and compromised vision after being shot in the face with a rubber bullet, a young man experiencing a grand mal seizure, and a man shot in the back by a rubber bullet causing blunt force trauma and a severe head laceration.
This is a clear-cut case of human rights violations and excessive police violence upon peaceful demonstrators. No police officers have been held accountable for this blatant disregard for human rights and dignity.